Night Train to Memphis Book Summary and Study Guide

Detailed plot synopsis reviews of Night Train to Memphis

Vicky Bliss, assistant curator of the National Musuem in Germany is approached by the Munich police and an agent introduced as Herr Burchhardt. She is offered a luxury cruise down the Nile if she will agree to act as their agent and identify someone they have been tipped off as an "aquaintance" of Vicky's who is about to pull off a major heist in Egypt. This coincides with the opening of the newly restored tomb of Tetishiri, donated by an American billionaire. Of course, Vicky's suspicions turn to John Smythe, her on again - off again lover and major art thief.
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She agrees to go if they will agree to keep her boss, Doctor Schmidt out of harms way.

As she tries to unravel the plot and identify what the thieves are after, things become complicated very quickly. Sir John shows up with a sweet young bride and his mother and a new name. Vicky is stunned by this turn of events. The passengers of the cruise present a number of red herrings and Vicky is hard pressed to even figure out who her confederates are. She is impressed by an American billionaire, Larry Blenkiron, who in turn, seems quite smitten with her.

The luxury cruise is interrupted by murder, sabotage and an attempt on Vicky's life. In the midst of these complications her worst nightmare is realized when they are joined by Schmidt. Soon she is trying to keep her boss safe and keep herself from murdering John, who has hurt her more than she thought he could.

With the premature end of the cruise, Vicky and her fellow travelers attend the opening of the newly restored tomb of Tetishari and Vicki is one of a select few passengers invited to stay at Larry's sumptious mansion.

The plot turns sinister when it is revealed just who is behind one of the biggest heists in Egypt's history. Vicky finds herself fighting to keep one step ahead of the villians as she and John are forced to flee for their lives.
The review of this Book prepared by readurr

"Night Train to Memphis" is the fourth (and most recent) volume in Elizabeth Peters' "Vicky Bliss" series.

Art historian and detective Vicky Bliss is bemoaning the worrysome absence of communication from her occasional lover Sir John Smythe, when she receives an urgent request to act as a police informant on an exlusive luxury cruise down the Nile. One of the passengers is reported to be planning an attempt to rob the Cairo Museum, and she is supposed to find out who. She accepts and takes on the job of guest lecturer aboard ship, but as soon as she tours her first Egyptian attraction, she spies Sir John strolling not yards away, and with a delicate new wife on his arm. She immediately fears that he is the would-be thief since his past includes an illustrious career as an antiquities fraud.

Vicky is livid, and spends the next days on the cruise attempting to avoid Sir John or wound him with cutting remarks. Soon, attempts to kill or injure her pile up, and Sir John grows more and more distant. Vicky's attempts to either prove or disprove John as the villain remain stagnant, but her feelings are far from even.

At midnight, midway through the trip and during a formal ball, Vicky is at her wits end watching John whisper and fondle his wife Mary, so she leaves to inform her contact that John is the crook even though she has no evidence. He steps out of the shadows on deck and after cruel words, kisses her. She is angry, both at him and at herself for clinging to memories of his words to her before this trip.

The ship unexpectedly docks near Luxor, hundreds of miles south of Cairo, and the passengers take to land to wait out repairs to the vessel. Vicky is invited to stay at the mansion of the ship's owner, a wealthy art benefactor, and things at the house quickly grow colder and more dangerous.
The review of this Book prepared by The Girl Pharaoh

Chapter Analysis of Night Train to Memphis

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Plot & Themes

Composition of Book descript. of violence and chases 20%Planning/preparing, gather info, debate puzzles/motives 35%Feelings, relationships, character bio/development 35%How society works & physical descript. (people, objects, places) 10% Tone of story    -   Dry-cynical    -   very humorous How difficult to spot villain?    -   Challenging Time/era of story:    -   1980's-1999 What % of story relates directly to the mystery, not the subplot?    -   50% Special suspect?    -   lover Murder of certain profession?    -   cruise ship Kind of investigator    -   amateur citizen investigator Kid or adult book?    -   Adult or Young Adult Book The crook is....    -   commit white collar fraud or con Any non-mystery subplot?    -   feelings towards lover Crime Thriller    -   Yes Crime plotlets:    -   escape/rescue from kidnappers Is MAIN CHARACTER an EVIL criminal?    -   Yes Murder Mystery (killer unknown)    -   Yes General Crime (including known murderer)    -   Yes Who's the criminal enemy here?    -   stolen goods organization Is Romance a MAJOR (25%+) part of story?    -   Yes

Main Character

Gender    -   Female Profession/status:    -   scholar Age:    -   20's-30's Ethnicity/Race    -   White/American


Africa    -   Yes Part of Africa:    -   Arabic Africa Water?    -   Yes Water:    -   pleasure/love boat Misc setting    -   fancy mansion

Writing Style

Accounts of torture and death?    -   moderately detailed references to deaths Explicit sex in book?    -   Yes What kind of sex:    -   vague references    -   descript of kissing    -   touching of anatomy Amount of dialog    -   roughly even amounts of descript and dialog

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Elizabeth Peters Books Note: the views expressed here are only those of the reviewer(s).
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